As the holidays approach, this time of year can be filled with mixed emotions for high achieving medical professionals who find themselves in the hospital, clinics, and practices caring for patients instead of spending time with loved ones.  It can be more hectic than ever as doctors try to be all things to family and friends while still carrying a full patient load. 

Personally, I learned the hard way that this is the time of year when I must become non-negotiable about my daily practices for self-care.  In the past I felt I was pulled in many directions. It was challenging for me to say no and set boundaries. I pushed through the holidays working extra shifts while trying to balance the responsibilities of family life. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  I didn’t enjoy the holidays. In fact there were times when I couldn’t wait until the holidays were over.  The mounting stress manifested itself in back pain, which was my wakeup call that it was time to do something different in my life and medical career.

Relief came when I surrendered.  When other people are rushing around to finish their holiday shopping, I use this time of year to quietly celebrate myself from a place of non-judgment. It is less about what I haven’t done and more about what I have done and what is possible for the future. No more beating myself up for not dropping that 10 pounds or not having paid off more on those student loans or not being in the dream position that I hope to retire from some day. From this new viewpoint I get to enjoy decorating the tree with my children and cooking the holiday dishes we love.

Life is a process. Enjoying more of the process and feeling on purpose is what I am going after, knowing that with the right energy and focus, the rest will show up and reveal itself to me.

If you can relate, please don’t despair.  When we wreck our brains over what wasn’t done we give up our power and fall into the trap of feeling like a victim to our circumstances.  Yes, this happens to doctors.  We are not immune to human frailties.  Instead of falling into the old patterns of negative self talk and criticism, this is the opportune time to re-engage with the daily practices to raise your energy level so that you can tap into the inspiration needed for focused action in 2019.

I share the daily practices for life and career success in Lessons in Life and Medicine.  If you haven’t subscribed then click here to get started..
A few daily practices that change my life are:

  • Setting the intention for the day
  • Starting the day with Gratitude
  • Wrapping up the day with celebrating my wins, big and small. 

These strategies used consistently, shift your focus and attention to the experiences and the opportunities that contribute to your success.  Life begins to flow instead of feeling forced.

As you reflect back over 2018, what were the positive experiences that you had?  Maybe it was with a patient or family member you connected with that renewed the meaning of the doctor-patient relationship.  What was the lesson from that experience? How can you harness the lesson and carry it into 2019 so that you are more effective and impactful as a doctor?

As we prepare to bring another year to a close and welcome the newness of life that is on the horizon for 2019, what do you need to put in place to support your life and career?  Is it time for you to consider adding a coach and mentor to your team to support you on the next leg of this journey in creating a life and medical career that serves you?

If you know you are ready to make a shift, I have openings for complimentary Discovery Sessions. Email me at to schedule a session with me.

Nurturing you on your journey,
Dr. Stephanie